What is the connection between Alzheimer’s disease ?

More than 90% of people with Down syndrome are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease by the age of 55-60. In a new study published in the journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, researchers investigated whether there is a difference in protein structures between people with Alzheimer’s disease only and those with this condition along with Down syndrome.

Like Alzheimer’s disease, the neuropathological phenotype in individuals with Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the presence of β-amyloid (Aβ) and abnormal accumulation of tau protein. Structures of Aβ and tau filaments in Down syndrome have not been previously studied, and it is unknown whether they differ from structures in sporadic Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers examined images of Aβ and tau filaments found in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, with and without Down syndrome. They did not find significant differences. This means that the mechanisms that cause Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome and sporadically are the same.

The authors emphasize that it is now justified to include individuals with Down syndrome in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. This, in turn, may help to further study both conditions in more detail.